PARIS: Maria Sharapova reached her third French Open semi-final yesterday, defeating Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-3 to take another step towards a career Grand Slam.
The Russian world number two, who was also a semi-finalist in 2007 and 2011, will tackle Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova for a place in Saturday’s final.
“I am happy to be back in the semi-finals,” said Sharapova. “I love coming back here to challenge myself to go further in the tournament.”
The Russian can reclaim the world number one spot if she gets to the final.
“I won two tournaments coming into Paris – in Stuttgart and Rome – and they gave me a lot of confidence. But every event is different. I am just happy to improve and I know it’ll get tougher from here.”
Kanepi was broken seven times in the match and admitted that Sharapova had too much firepower for her.
“She attacked all the time, I didn’t have any time to hit my shots and I just couldn’t get any rhythm,” said Kanepi. “I was very nervous and I am sorry I didn’t get to spend more time on the court. Maria is playing really well, she can win the tournament.”
In the other women’s quarter-final, fourth-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to register her place in the semi-final.
Federer, Djokovic set for another tussle
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will go head to head for the 26th time in the semi-finals tomorrow.
Djokovic, after winning a four-set thriller against Wilfred Tsonga, said he knows what to expect from Federer. “I don’t want to talk too much about Roger,” said the Serb.
“We all know his quality and can always expect him to perform his best at this stage of the tournament.”
Federer, bidding for a record 17th Grand Slam title, sounded equally even-minded after his victory over Del Potro.
“I know that I have to reach a level of 10 to play against him,” said Federer. “We’ll see how fit he is. I know I have to play a great match.”
Neither Djokovic nor Federer has ever beaten Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, with the Spaniard now having a career record at Roland Garros of 49 wins and just the one loss.
Second-seed Rafael Nadal cruised past compatriot Nicolas Almagro with a 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 win to reach the semi-finals. The Spaniard is in pursuit of his seventh Grand Slam win at the Roland Garros.
Aisam, Rojer to face Bryans today
Aisamul Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Rojer will meet second-seeds Mike and Bob Bryan in the men’s doubles semi-finals today.
The Pakistani and Dutch pair made their way into the last-four after Michael Llodra retired hurt trailing 6-4, 2-1.
In their last three meetings with the Bryan brothers, Aisam and Rojer have managed to win just one match. Aisam needs to win the French Open to give himself a chance of qualifying for the London Olympics 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
More in SportsFootball: Ukrainian chief announces incentives